5404/The Afterlife Finally Takes the Old Lady

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The Afterlife Finally Takes the Old Lady
Date of Scene: 02 March 2021
Location: Afterlife Settlement - Nepal
Synopsis: Peggy stops in at Afterlife to see if she can help with the situation and is met by Gonzales, May, Bobbi, and Elena. The ladies give her a good debrief if just how bad the situation is. Still more skeletons in the SHIELD closet, it seems.
Cast of Characters: Matthew Murdock, Peggy Carter, Melinda May, Bobbi Morse, Elena Rodriguez

Matthew Murdock has posed:
The hoops they had to go through to rotate out personnel had been taxing but it had been a good foray into what the diplomatic process with Jaiying and her people was going to be like and the way things looked, it was going to be slow.

The rules had been clear, stay out of the village and by the end of the rotation there needed to be the same or fewer SHIELD agents on the ground not more. Gonzales had kept his word and so quinjet two lands beside the first one on the field beyond the village gate, the ramp lowering to let the new group of agents depart while the ones who's places they were taking were waiting to board. Gonzales for his part waits and watches, leaning on his cane to spare his knee the pain of standing dressed in his suit and tie despite the cool mountain breezes. Looking very much older than Peggy might remember him from back in the 80's when he joined SHIELD.

Peggy Carter has posed:
When Peggy got the somewhat muddled, complicated information about this place called 'The Afterlife', and heard all who was there, she asked to be on the next team in. Just high enough ranking nowadays to have a bit more clout and freedom than she did before, it didn't take too much for her to talk them into letting her be on the next set of agents. As this is a diplomatic mission, and she's trying to set people at ease, she's dressed in her civilian clothes. But then, Gonzales would have well remembered the director as often in a dress or a suit most of her tenure when he knew her ages ago.

Walking down the ramp, her T-strap heels click quietly against the metal and some of the warm, lovely wind of the strange place shifting her swing skirt casually around stockinged legs. She's dressed deliberately softer than one of her power suits, probably meant to put whomever she encounters at ease. She's even in a softer green and navy plaid print than some of her more sharp dresses. She's got her shorther hair as close to the vintage waves as it can get and hasn't bothered to fully make up the faint burns on the left side of her face. She's not putting on airs here.

A smile spans across her face as she sees Gonzales, offering her hand in his direction, "I feel like it's been ages..."

Melinda May has posed:
May isn't leaving. She's here for the duration. Sure, with Bobbi on site, it's not like they necessarily *need* another L7, but given the fact the blonde has just discovered she's Inhuman and is reeling from whatever new abilities she's awakened with... Yeah. May's not going anywhere.

Besides, Gonzales seems to want her opinion on things. Don't ask her why.

As Peggy arrives, the Asian woman gives her a nod. But since it's still Gonzales' show, she keeps her mouth shut and lets them greet each other. She remembers Peggy from the 80's, too. And, oddly, from the 40's. She knows what's changed.

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    Bobbi has taken the time to find some privacy and change what she's wearing. Her under layers changed to SHIELD standard issue, then her tac armour over the top, and finally on top of that the clothing she was given from Afterlife - a kimono sort of thing and pants in natural unbleached white.

    Gloves and glasses are on, it feels good to have real clothing back on. And at least if someone does take a shot at her for whatever reason she's got the armour to save her from potentially death or extreme suffering.

    But now she's digging through the go pack and taking the tablet. Finding the exact location in the operating system to turn off predictive text and auto-complete is providing to be difficult and Bobbi has a lot to write that isn't in an Earthly language. "Darnit, Fitz? Where's Fitz.. does anybody know where the text settings are on these things??," she says as she exits the quinjet and sees the rotation landing.. and Peggy walking out. Bobbi smiles and waves to her 'daughter' then dips her head back down tapping on numerous settings, finding all kinds of indescribable things that aren't helping her.

Matthew Murdock has posed:
"I was thinking the same thing, but I think the time's been kinder to you than to me," he offers warmly having been read in on the reasons for it. He looks like a much older man, his dark hair turned steely grey but it suits him and makes that mustache he's worn since the 80's suit him better than it did as a young agent, "Welcome to Afterlife," he says with a glance around the place, and then a nod is given to May and Bobbi, "I understand introductions won't be necessary with Barbara or Agent May, so let's find somewhere to talk and we can bring you up to speed."

Peggy Carter has posed:
The smile that Gonzales is given is wry, lined with a hint of a smirk, especially as she looks over to Bobbi coming down the path. "Yes, well... a few people helped me cheat. I still owe a lot of thanks, but happy to be breathing, over all." She murmurs casually, as if they were two old friends meeting up for coffee after a long time. Bobbi and May are both given respectful, sharp nods, "Glad to see we have our best on this." Even if part of the issue is that some of them are stuck here.

"Lead the way. I take it you got back from the Church just fine, May? I didn't hear any more updates...Boring run all around, hm?" Peg keeps that too-casual tone in her voice, the slight implication being she doesn't trust this place to discuss the other reasons they were in Italy, but she's happy to make small talk. They're all on the same team after all, right?

Melinda May has posed:
"Yeah, it was a milk run," May says dryly, in reply to Peggy, falling in with her and Gonzales. "But I clocked some hours and Elena got to go sight-seeing while the Quinjet was refueling. She'd never been to Rome."

It also got her Gibbs-smacked.

May moves slightly ahead, then, leading the way back to the base camp around QJ01. It's not a bad camp, really. But it's clear to a practiced eye that it's very disposable. They can take off at a moment's notice without worrying about what's left behind.

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
A gibbs-smack that Elena still feels to this day.

Rubbing the back of her head as she makes her way back to th equinjet from the community proper with her hand dropping down to join the other in her pockets. Head bowed forward, smiling or speaking only when spoken too. It's surprisingly little and understandably welcome for that. Cresting over and down towards basecamp.

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    "Hey the Church. Nice. Good excuse to go to Europe," she says almost innocently pointing out the obvious point of why they used it. She then spies Davis and says, "I'll be right back." She smiles and moves past Peggy waving her tablet toward the man, "Davis. I need your help with some settings."

    He has no where to run, no where to hide. Now he has to play IT specialist while Fitz is not to be seen. Bobbi starts to describe her problems to the man who reaches out to her. Bobbi flinches back and hands him the tablet. It takes him all of five button presses before he hands it back.

"Thanks Agent," she says with a smile, then walks back over to the group, a stylus in her hand and occasional glances down at the tablet screen as she begins to write utter alien looking gibberish. The only bit of English on the screen is titled 'Nona' -- there's also a tab titled 'Daisy', 'May', and 'Elena' but they aren't currently selected.

"What's the matter Elena? you're giving Agent Carter and Agent May a weird look?," Bobbi enquires though she suspects she's reading too much in to it.

Matthew Murdock has posed:
"So I've heard," Gonzales says about Peggy having some help with aging, as they all head into the base camp together Gonzales leading them to a tent set up beside QJ01 where some chairs, a table and some tablets sit waiting. "Haven't been to The Church in ages," he remarks. "Beyond the odd layover on SPOT business," he remarks. He catches a glimpse of what Bobbi's writing on the tablet and his brow furrows with concern, he casts a look to May soon after. "Agent May, would you like to brief Agent Carter on our current situation?"

Peggy Carter has posed:
As they walk across the set up, Peggy's dark eyes flicker across everything around them. Strangely beautiful, far nicer than she thought it'd be, but the reports warned her the climate was temperate. Perfect. Even in these mountains. Now she's taking in all the little details, the buildings beyond the temporary SHIELD camp, the walkways, the beautiful, lush greenery. "Looks like they made a paradise for themselves here." She mutters quietly, not to anyone in particular, voice low enough to be heard by the SHIELD agents near her and no one else. At least, no one else human.

Bobbi is given a slightly longer look over after she's done with her site survey, an edge of curious concern in her eyes, but she's not bringing it up yet. Elena gets a respectful nod when she joins them, the concern lingering even deeper from Peggy. It seems she's destined to spend much of her life highly worried about her agents -- but that's nothing different from the 80s. May's given a curious look, as Gonzalez leaves the full report to her. Peggy settles down into a makeshift table, happy to be off her feet. She wasn't noticably unstead at the moment, but she didn't care to stand on ceremony. "And you're in charge of the situation here, Gonzales? Or just keeping an eye on things?" She asks him, though May is giving the report. She trusts it from May's lips better anyway.

Melinda May has posed:
May isn't in a position to see Bobbi's tablet. If she were, she might wonder more sharply at what's caught Gonzales' attention on it. There are any number of reasons he could have such a deep crevass between his eyes in this place. "The short version is that we're in the middle of delicate negotiations with a foreign power with almost no prep." Doesn't that sound like fun? Say what you will about this small village in Nepal, calling it a foreign power is not overstating it, given the sheer amount of firepower the Inhumans possess.

"A slightly longer version is, Agents Morse and Johnson have spent the past several days here getting to know the locals and attempting to understand their culture. The village is run, apparently, but Daisy's mother. So, she's taking point on trying to get Jiaying to talk to us. Officially, we're hoping to set up diplomatic relations so we can work with them in helping Inhumans adjust to their powers and abilities as we come across them. Unofficially..."

She glances between Bobbi and Gonzales, "Well, I think we're just trying to get Bobbi and Daisy home without kicking off world war three." She finds herself a chair, now, and leans one foot on it, resting her arms on her knees. "From what I've seen, they've got a whole community here -- families, children. Not everyone has powers, from what I understand, but they all have the potential. So, they've got a lot here worth protecting. If it comes down to a fight, we need to retreat, not stomp all over anyone. We just want to make sure we get all our people out in the process."

She looks meaningfully over at Bobbi as she says that.

"Turns out Agent Morse, here, is an Inhuman, too. So, there's that."

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
"What? I am?" Elena blinks at Bobbi, looks from May to Peggy, over to Gonzales, back to Bobbi, then at her boots. "Did not mean to be... Just staring. Lots of.. interesting?" Thumbing over her shoulder in the direction of Afterlife proper, smiling a greeting to Peggy, "Buenos dias, Agent Carter. It is good to see you." Hands back in her pockets, looking between the quartet. Something is definitely troubling her, even if she doesn't realize that she's wearing it on her sleeve... not like she'd be any good at hiding it anyways!

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    Bobbi is barely listening as May talks, though, suddenly her name is mentioned and she looks up from what was almost a trance like dedication to the nonsense she was drawing on the tablet. "Hm? Well, it's complicated but that is essentially the outcome I'm now coming to terms with."

    "Not to mention we have things to offer Afterlife. There's a woman in there right now who is struggling with her Inhuman abilities. She seems to be able to control temperature and it is sensitive to light." She leaves out the part where she accidentally killed her brother, "so I'm trying to help her get that under control. Since we met Daisy I've worked with Jemma to try and understand Inhuman biology. The issues with Whitehall's super agents gave me some key insights.. I'm hoping I can help her."

    She looks pointedly to Gonzales, "And as much as I want to get home, I made a promise to Nona Young that I would help her. One way or another. If our negotiations break down - I'm going to have to have a long pointed talk with Jiaying about how I can help her despite frosty relations."

    She smiles to Elena, "Daisy was going to take you to look around Afterlife right? If she gets too busy I'll take you. The embargo isn't against any Inhumans as far as I can tell.. though Jiaying thinks this is my fault.. which, ahem.. it is," she motions to the encampment, "So I'm not her most favourite person right now. Not that she is easy to befriend regardless. Mark on the other hand, he's very easy to talk to."

Matthew Murdock has posed:
"I requested command of the rescue operation, but when the situation changed, Fury put me in charge of that as well," there's an unspoken, if somewhat good natured 'that bastard' implied there." Though for all that Gonzales nods in support of May's summary, "That's about the size of it," he says. "It's a tense situation and primarily made that way by Agent Johnson's mother, still we're hoping she can see reason and work with us to help any future Inhumans we come across and help her people by making sure this community stays off the radar and resettling anyone who wants to return to the world places where they can be safe."

As had become something of a custom now with Gonzales, Davis appears to pull the man away, this time to deal with something in the camp. "Thank you Agent Davis, I'll be with them shortly," he says before easing himself slowly out of his chair and gripping his cane. "In the meantime, please get Agent Carter and the other agents anything they need."

And with that he's off into the camp.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The news that Bobbi is an inhuman is a shock to Peggy. Her eyes jerk a little wider, keeping the worst of the surprise off of her face because she's still a well trained agent, but those who know her can see the surprise there. It only deepens her concern for the woman across from her, frown following that look, though she gives a quiet nod of understanding to Bobbi's words. "Of course... helping these people should be a priority. You and Daisy *included*, it seems. But SHIELD isn't here to muck everything up, despite our sometimes reputation." Peggy's tired frown is lost in thought now, mind pouring over some old names and files from far too long ago.

"Jiaying." Peggy knows that name. Possibly it's a concidence, but unlikely. She goes very still at the thought of it. "There was a... woman named Jiaying who was the victim of some... awful experimentation by Werner Reinhardt. I remember the file from his Island installation." Her nose wrinkles a bit deeper, guilt creasing at her features. This was a woman she should have helped and failed.

Then Gonzales is being pulled away, leaving Peggy with a team of women she absolutely trusts, and worries about, more than the Director she never well got to know. She gives him a quiet nod farewell, "Thank you for the updates, Director." But she seems fine with him going. She then looks back to the three, though her eyes weigh on Bobbi a little bit heavier. Her first question is for May and Elena, "... how bad is it and are they talking to us even, really?" Then her eyes to Bobbi, the true weight of concern behind them, "How are YOU holding up?"

Melinda May has posed:
May watches Gonzales retreat once more. He's really good at that, she notes silently. Get the salient details. Move on. Most directors seem to develop the skill. She falls silence once more, however, as Peggy turns her attention to Bobbi. She doesn't have a whole lot more to add. It's been an interesting 24 hours, in her books. Picking up the chair she had been leaning on, she turns it around and sits on it, arms crossing lightly over her chest as she does.

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
Elena brings her hand up and teeter tots it in Peggy's direction, "Agent Johnson is talking with them now... they were less than thrilled I come along into community, but very polite. Showed me around once they know I am Inhuman, but I didn't get much further than the front door." Hands back in her pocket, she looks to Bobbi "They show me a little, si. It is a very wonderful place.. The things they offer to inhumans? Incredible." She's not even going to pretend not to be a little bias. When her powers developed she nearly destroyed a park..

A place like this would have helped her tremendously.

"I would like to see more, though." Smiling to Bobbi, nodding. She holds out a snickers bar in trade. "I have many."

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    As her level 8 commander heads off, she's used to it. Usually this is when she starts getting organised to do things. But he gave her a short talking to that he needs her to take a step back and just be an agent for the next few days. So that's what she's going to do.

    Bobbi taps the stylus against the edge of the tablet and says, "I can feel you staring at me Peggy." She looks up and sighs, "And no that isn't some Inhuman ability I've suddenly got." She takes off her tactical glasses and locks her tablet, sliding the stylus back in to its spine. "They're not yet willing to talk to humans, only Inhumans and even then, Jiaying seems to have a hierarchy she actually listens to. I don't know how well Daisy is going to go getting through to her."

    "There's a dark side to them too. When I wandered too far out of bounds, Gordon - the guy that can teleport - he appeared to stop me. They dumped me in a pitch black room hoping I wouldn't be able to get out. I got out. They also set me up to meet Nona. It was Nona and the darkness that activated my Inhuman ability... an ability I effectively transplanted in to myself while in Whitehall's base," Bobbi explains.

    "So now they don't want to let me leave. It seems whatever ability I have is coveted by them. And let me explain to you - Gordon instantly put me in a situation where my only option for getting away from Afterlife is to kill him. I can kick his butt til the cows come home but he need only lay a hand on me to teleport me wherever he wants." She raises her eyebrows pointedly at the tactical implications of this power.

    Her lips tighten a bit and she rests the tablet in her lap. "How am I though? ... pissed off. I did this to myself. Now I'm seeing weird alien writing in my head and I can't stop thinking about it. It nags at me like a puzzle that needs solving. Every one I've touched has added to the load. I've got four puzzles in my head right now. Four completely different puzzles with no similarities between them," she says with annoyance.

Peggy Carter has posed:
Silence lingers from Peggy for a handful of heartbeats, just staring at the women across from her, the weight of the whole situation not too much, but it's close. Everything of the last several weeks settles heavy in her chest and she just lets out a slow, long breath, one hand coming up to rub down her face as she tries to organize her thoughts. "SHIELD failed these people -- Daisy's mother, at least, but I suspect there are other Inhuman experimental subjects in here. Bobbi, you wouldn't have done this to yourself if it wasn't for Whitehall again... This is on SHIELD's past mistakes and Reinhardt's evil mind. Handling these people with respectful, most delicate gloves... it's the best we can do. It's what we *should* do. They might have a lovely home, but they are trauma victims." Her eyes rest on Bobbi and Elena, as if to say she includes them in that. She knows both women are strong, but she also knows they've been through hell.

Another slower breath is taken, something to still the slight spin of her head as she leans against the table and considers it all. "Respecting their boundaries...waiting to see what progress our inhumans from SHIELD can make, being here with an open hand but not shoving into things, it's... probably the best we can do. I do not know if my presence will be a help or a harm, though, considering past... failures to protect Jaiying..." She's looking to May for that. She needs the woman's cool head and calm, distant advice.

Melinda May has posed:
Concern surfaces in May's eyes. She realizes that, somehow, she must be one of the puzzles Bobbi is trying to solve. That's... disturbing. She pushes it away, however, as Peggy turns to her. First Gonzales looking to her, now Peggy. She glances over to Bobbi, and understands why.

Pulling in a breath, she places her hands on her knees. "There's no point playing the blame game," she says decisively, now. "The fact is, the ball is mostly in Jiaying's court, and Daisy's our best chance to get through to her right now. But, my gut says Bobbi's right. Daisy gets emotional and this is as big as it gets for her. She's been chasing the ghosts of her parents for years. I don't know whether or not she can influence Jiaying. I've only seen the woman once, and what I saw tells me she's a hard, unyeilding woman. I don't doubt, however, that she can influence Daisy. We need to be prepared for this to south. And, if it does, it's going to go south quickly."

She shakes her head. "Director Gonzales isn't the first person I'd have thought to send into a diplomatic situation." She snirks at that. "*I'm* not the first person I'd think to send into a diplomatic situation. So, none of us here are the experts. Frankly, I'd sooner have Phil here. But..." She shrugs. "We're it."

Fury has very odd ideas about appropriate personnel assignments, she's found.

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
There's no particular point at which Elena has any disagreement. Standing at the table with one hand rubbing against the edge slowly, eyes focused on it rather than those around it. Her brow perks slightly, the precarious nature of their situation not lost on her in the slightest, but she'd never have seen herself as one of the optimal agents to send on this particular mission with the obvious exclusion of her being Inhuman.

"I hope that it does not come to stick." She murmurs quietly, speaking truth to her own growing paranoia. After everything they've seen, what she's been told about SHIELD, over the last few days... The existance of that registry sits like a knot of anxious energy hovering directly in the pit of her stomach.

Glancing up, just so, at Peggy and May. It's a temporary glance and her gaze goes back down to the table. "A lot of plates that spin."

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    "Don't underestimate the old man," Bobbi says of Gonzales. One of her long time mentors, she maybe a bit biased about him. "He'll do a good job. He has depths of compassion in him when the time is right. I know, he's hard to read like that. But hey, he's an old hat spy, it's ingrained in him to be mysterious and unreadable," she says casting a glance over to Peggy and May and then a sympathetic smile to Elena.

    "I think it's that SHIELD came to her rescue at all on Whitehall's island that Jia even bothered to talk to me afterward.. that and it became clear who she might be during discussion. The moment she thought I knew her daughter, she was very interested in talking to me," she adds.

    "A lot of this comes down to Daisy.. Jia might change her mind for her daughter, she seems ver important to her. But she also loves Afterlife and right now I'm not sure which concern will win out."

    "And why couldn't I have gotten a cool power... like super speed or making things shake," she says with a smirk, "Nope. Bobbi's super power - nausea. Lance is not going to be able to restrain himself." She smiles, "Well.. I never went through terrigenesis, my powers are effectively stolen, but I'm being polite and saying inherited. One day I'll understand enough about Inhuman genetics to remove the power and give it back to an Inhuman who deserves it."

Peggy Carter has posed:
The older woman injests all of this information, though it's Elena that gets the first faint, almost bittersweet smile, in response to the 'plates than spin' comment. "Yes. Too many. And we cannot afford to drop one." There's something else going on here, not just the Afterlife, but something heavy between May, Elena, and Peggy that wasn't really there before. Peggy's still not quite comfortable bringing it up, though, not in an unsecured location, so she lets that acknowledgment rest. One hand comes over and, unless Elena pulls away, she gives the back of the woman's palm a bit of a firm, reassuring squeeze. It's as affectionately bolstering as Peggy *ever* gets.

Then she's looking back to May and Bobbi, as Jaiying and Daisy's situation is concerned. Bobbi's reassurance about Gonzales gets quietly heavy gaze, as if Peggy was considering just how much to bank on that, but she then gives a slight nod. "If Gonzales is up to the situation, and I trust that he is, I think I will end up switching out the next round of agents. Considering I was present when the mess first started, I may be more of a liability than an assistance here. And there's still lots of things to clean up out there. I trust you all to be able to handle this...even if it might go south fast. Oh...and, I'm sure you asked already, but...if we have to pull out fighting...Does Daisy want us to try and get her, or leave her?"

Melinda May has posed:
May has no answer for that question, honestly. She imagines Daisy won't react well to them just yanking her away. But she hasn't actually had any time alone with Daisy to find out one way or another. It's a question Bobbi will need to answer.

Peggy's not the only one feeling out of her depths. May is simply hiding it behind her usual taciturn demeanor. She can do the whole following-orders thing. She doesn't have any desire to rise to fill Gonzales' shoes. Or even Peggy's former shoes.

She's sooooo much better at hitting things.

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    Bobbi sighs and shakes her head, "I haven't.. I need to.. but it seems like we're always running out of time. It gets worse -- she brought her boyfriend with her to this place. He's a lawyer and blind." Because how is Matt supposed to handle Gordon? "I am at a loss and in the worst physical and mental shape of my life."

    She shuts her eyes and frowns, "I know there's no way I want to be stuck here. I may struggle to deal with what's happening to me without them, but I'd rather keep my freedom and my life. Whatever happens, I know I can get through it with Lance and SHIELD."

Peggy Carter has posed:
A slightly softer look is given to Bobbi, "Morse. We're not going to leave you here, no matter what. You want to come back with SHIELD? You're coming back with SHIELD. These people might be traumatized, but they do not get to jail you against your will. Understood? We're not abandoning you. I can promise that." Peggy states firmly. For as tired and a touch overwhelmed as she's been, she does not waiver on that. Some things never change, and the fact that Peggy will take care of her people and SHIELD? That is unwaivering.

Peg then stands, though there is a moment of faltering. The world on a slightly too fast spin. She catches herself on the table before straightening again, a half smile passing it off as nothing. "I...am going to see what counts as rack space around here and maybe find a proper cup of tea. The first person to talk to Daisy? Ask her that question. Otherwise... we wait and see. The ball is in their court, it seems."

Melinda May has posed:
"She's right," May says. "And, frankly, we're taking Daisy home, too. She can quake the world apart, if she wants, but we're her family." Her dark eyes go between Bobbi, with her flakey heart, and Peggy... who's recently starting the swooning thing of her own. She suppresses a growl, pushing to her feet.

"Come on," she tells Peggy. "I'll show you where I stashed the good tea." Because the others might smuggle sugar along, but May despises coffee -- especially field ration coffee. She brought proper tea. Of *course*, she did.

She pauses by Elena, and actually lays a hand briefly on the woman's shoulder. She can see how on edge the speedster is and... Rome aside... she actually wants the woman on her A Game. She's got potential to be a great agent. "Get some rest," she says to both Elena and Bobbi. "Both of you. We got this."

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    Bobbi twists her lips a touch and smiles to Peggy, "You're awesome." She nods her head, "There, I said it." She nods to May and Elena too and then unlocks her table, "I have alien homework to do.. tomorrow I'm heading back in to see Nona because I don't want her to think I've abandoned her. I don't care what Jiaying is up to, I have priorities.. see you all later."

    Bobbi hops up, noting the way Peggy sways a touch and her eyebrows twitch with intrigue.. but for now she says nothing. It seems a bit of time in beautiful mountains might do the whole team a bit of good. Refreshing, is how she would describe the clean air up here. She wanders off with her tablet to do some puzzle solving.